Saturday 20 January 2018

Pub bought for €4.2m in 2006 now on market for €850,000

Tom Prendeville

It gave its name to a famous Dublin landmark, now one of the city's best-known pubs, John Doyle's of Doyle's Corner in Phibsboro, is sending a shiver down the spines of city publicans by going on the market with a price tag of €850,000 -- an 80 per cent drop in the price it was sold for five years ago.

Doyle's was sold in 2006 for €4.2m, at a time when some local house prices were fetching €850,000.

For generations the popular watering hole was a favourite for staff in nearby Mountjoy Prison and for country people who flocked to live in the many boarding houses in the neighbourhood.

Victorian-era John Doyle's was built in the 1860s and its distinctive granite facade was constructed from leftover stones from the spire of nearby St Peter's Church.

Unusually for a pub, it has its own supply of water, courtesy of an artesian spring well in the basement

According to the guide brochure of the Dublin-based selling agent Morrisey's: "John Doyle's is an opportunity to acquire one of Dublin city's most famous landmark licensed premises.

"Extending to 7,232 square feet, in excellent trading condition which enjoys a steady business, with obvious business potential to enhance the same under new ownership."

"National Irish Bank was looking for cash offers over one million. However, the bank dropped it down to €850,000. There is another week to go in the sale," explained Tony Morrisey who is handling the sale.

According to one local publican in Phibsboro, who didn't wish to be named: "Doyle's Corner used to be a goldmine and if €850,000 or less is the price being asked for pubs we are all in trouble."

As a measure of how far south the pub trade and property business have gone in recent years, one only has to look at the pub's past sales record. In the early Nineties, during the latter days of the then recession, John Doyle's was bought for £900,000 (€1.14m).

John Hughes, of Dublin-based CBRE, which specialises in pub sales, acknowledges that the pub market has hit hard times: "It is very challenging out there. There are very few pub properties that would have sold in Dublin this year; there is some interest in pubs, but the number of sales has been limited.

"The whole difficulty is in raising finance, if there was funding available things would improve."

Two of Doyle's most famous patrons in the past were writer Brendan Behan and hangman Albert Pierrepoint who, on 'business' trips to Dublin in the Forties and Fifties, would enjoy a pre-execution double whiskey in the snug of the bar.

Ten years ago, when Doyle's was a thriving music venue, it made the national news headlines when it was reported that a noisy ghost was living on the second floor of the pub.

Alas, nowadays, the ghost has the empty second floor bar all to himself except for the occasional party.

There was no one available for comment from the Licensed Vintners' Association (LVA) or the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI).

Sunday Independent

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